Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Nothing to say

I sit here with a few pictures from around the yard to share but nothing to say.

Daddy red-bellied woodpecker is back after raising his kids.

Everything seems bigger than my words. Sadder.

Daddy’s girl follows him to the deck for breakfast.

There’s Hurricane Ida leaving devastation from the Gulf Coast to the Northeast.

Early morning light.

There’s the covid resurgance in my state and most of the country.

Afternoon sun makes everything brighter.

There’s kids going back to school while parents and school boards shout at each other over masks.

Wasps are storming the hummingbird feeder. I took it down for a couple of days.

There’s Texas.

The hummers are unhappy with me.

I need to look seriously for the good that I always say is there amongst all the trouble.

Shadows everywhere.

A good long walk in the woods might help.

I don’t know what these are, they are tiny, hidden in the messy wildflower garden.

But there are those mosquitoes.

And I know just the place to take a walk, too.


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Let’s celebrate!

Katie here. HEY! Did you know it’s NATIONAL DOG DAY? It’s been on the news and everything!

Hey! It’s another opportunity to celebrate ME!

Honestly, here at my house every day is National Dog Day, but don’t tell anyone how spoiled I am. Oh. You’re fully aware of that? ALL of you are fully aware? Hmmmm….I think mama discloses too much information. A review of the nondisclosure clause in her contract with me might be in order.

But I digress.

This is my garden. Mama should make a boquet to decorate the house in celebration, don’t you think?

So as soon as I woke mama up this morning I told her we needed to do something special to celebrate. But so far, nothing.

OK, maybe she wasn’t in the planning mode at 3:30 in the morning when we went outside to explore the yard, umm, pee. But surely when she was making my breakfast #1 she should have been thinking about what we could do that was fun.

Or when she made my breakfast #2 a couple hours later.

I’m waiting, mother.

But no. Mama says she’s going to book us for a camping trip but I haven’t heard anything about where or when yet. She keeps saying it’s too hot for shelties to camp.

One of my favorite things to do is sleep in my tent.

She might have a point about that. I’m thinking early November would be the perfect time to sleep out in a tent. Don’t you agree?

I thought so. Mama is a wuss. She even bought an electric blanket to use when we camp later in the season. I think she should book that November campsite right away! Oh- you say the campgrounds up here aren’t open in November? Well, that’s just silly.

I’m sure if mama was motivated to make me happy she’d find somewhere to camp. I’ll add it to her ‘to-do’ list.

You weren’t doing anything anyway, right mama?

Anyway, if all you doggies out there haven’t gotten anything for National Dog Day yet either, we should band up and form a doggie union. Sometimes the only way to make change is to make some noise.

And you all know Sheltie’s can make some noise!

I usually get what I want when I really put my all into asking.

I hope you all have a wonderful National Dog Day! Even if you’re not lucky enough to be a dog.

Signing off,

Your Union Organizer,

Katie-girl.

I’m not manipulative. I’m just really super cute.


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More practice

I got a couple of tips (thanks DailyMusing!) about how to maneuver through WordPress’ blockhead editing system, particularly with images.

So here goes….I should be able to delete a photo. Guess I should insert a photo first:

Then I’ll see if I can remove it….one moment please…

OH!!!!! That worked!

But wait….now there’s nothing there, and you can’t see the image…because…I REMOVED IT! 🙂 🙂 🙂

So here it is again…

It’s just a barn taken on my trip home from the night sky camping trip I took a week or more ago. In fact I have a few other barn images from that drive home. It was prime farm country, after all.

She gave me a tip on how to do a gallery too, let’s see if I can do that:

Well, THAT was interesting! I don’t know if there’s a way to decide what goes where, but at least it’s a gallery!

The trick now will be for me to remember what I did.

Always something.

Edit: I just figured out you can click on any of the pictures in the gallery and see them bigger. They’re really better bigger.


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What made you smile this week?

As most of you know, Trent hosts a weekly blog that gathers posts from all sorts of people who are talking about smiling. These days we can all use a smile or two or ten.

Flowers always make me smile.

I don’t always get a smiley post done every week, but I sure appreciate the work he does to remind us all to look for smiles even when we don’t feel like it.

There’s been lots of bad news lately, but I’ve still had plenty to smile about. For example, a neighbor stopped by with his new puppy and we did a little photo shoot, mostly with his camera.

Meet Oliver, the neighbor’s new puppy!

I got this image of little Oliver on my camera. He’s only about 3 months old, but he’s as big as Katie and strong like a bull. In this shot he reminds me a bit of Winston Churchill. I think it’s the stick he’s chewing like a cigar, and his eyes.

But mostly, this week, it’s Katie-girl that makes me smile.

Mama! There’s yogurt on my nose, you can’t post this!

We made it out to her park one evening, though most days it’s just too hot. Even that day she sat under the picnic table and we didn’t even attempt to walk around the pond.

It’s hot out here, mama!

Tonight we went out back and smelled the roses, just one more thing to smile about.

If this doesn’t make you all smile, I don’t know what will!

I hope you all had plenty of things to smile about this week, and that next week is even better for us all!

These smell good mama! I hope everyone out there can smell them too!


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Practice

This post is going to try to figure out how to insert other types of pictures. The old WordPress let you do collages, and small images, and place them to the left or right. The new blockhead WordPress, so far, hasn’t let me do any of that.

So here goes.

Nope that didn’t work….but I can make headings….

And I can add a picture and words in the same block…

And I found a sort of collage, see above on the right. I don’t know why it ended up there…or why it’s all crunched together when I preview it, it’s not that way in the edit mode…but that’s the way of WordPress’s blockhead new program. I wonder if I can find other things.

And you know what else? I can’t figure out how to eliinate an image I insert. Once something is there I can replace it with something else…but not eliminate it totally. Well. That’s odd. And annoying.

Forest.

Even a child knows how valuable the forest is. The fresh, breathtaking smell of trees. Echoing birds flying above that dense magnitude. A stable climate, a sustainable diverse life and a source of culture. Yet, forests and other ecosystems hang in the balance, threatened to become croplands, pasture, and plantations.

I can add an image inside an image, but I didn’t choose the forest, it got chosen for me.

I don’t know….all I’ve figured out is that there’s a lot more to find if I take the time. But not everything works the way I think it should.

I guess I need to keep digging.

The randomness is intentional, because that’s the way I feel about the “new” WordPress.


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Chasing the stars again

Every year I reserve a camping spot somewhere up north for mid-August in the hopes of being in a dark place to wittness the meteorite showers. Almost every year I am foiled.

Drove right through farm country.

Back in March I booked the last campsite at Port Crescent State Park which has a Dark Sky Park just a couple miles down the road from the campground.

But the sky didn’t look promising.

Of course, booking in March for August means you have no idea what the weather will be like once you’re there. And of course this year, while last week was clear with no chance of rain, this week, when the meteorites should be peaking, is forecast to be hot and stormy.

Harvesting in the heat.

A great debate ensued as my departure date grew nearer. Should I cancel or should I go north and see what happens? The debate grew more interesting when I received an email from the state park indicating there would be no restrooms, due to a sewer problem. Right. Stormy and no bathrooms.

Heavy skies, but lots of barns.

The answer seemed obvious. I should cancel, especially since they’d refund my registration money.

Do you see the red/orange left on the barns? I thought it looked great with the orange lilies below.

So I went anyway.

When the soybeans turn yellow this will be stunning.

The drive up was not encouraging. The skies were overcast, then filled with heavy clouds.

This little barn, with the queen anne’s lace, is one of my favorites from the trip north.

But my navigation system, instead of sending me up the freeway, took me on all backroads. Right through farm country. Filled to overflowing with barns.

The cows didn’t seem to be uneasy about the weather. Of course they get to see stars every clear night.

So. Even if I didn’t get to see meteroites or stars or anything I was after, I’d be sure to catch a few barns. So it was a win, right?

I liked the yellow stripped field against the purple clouds and the white windmills.

Well sort of. Just before I left I was messing around with settings, reading my manual and moving through the menus. I did something so that every image was severely overexposed. And I couldn’t figure out how to fix it.

Barns and windmills and perhaps sugar beets.

So I drove north frustrated with the weather and my camera, and the fact I couldn’t find my Kindle so nothing much felt right.

Held up by the vines.

But I added almost 2 hours to the 3 hour drive, because, well, barns.

Barns were everywhere. But so were the clouds.

And when I finally, FINALLY, made it to the lake the sky was clearing.

The cool blue sooths me.

There just might be a chance that my very first night I’d get the shots I’ve been dreaming of.

Might see some stars tonight!

Unless…

Not much of a sunset. But there is hope for the night sky.

Well, you’ll have to wait and see.

Saw this guy as I headed to my car for the trip to the Dark Sky Park.


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Reaching for a smile

I took this photo last month on my way to meet my college roommate for a couple hours of peaceful kayaking at Kensington Metro Park.

The light caught my eye.

For whatever reason I never looked at it once I downloaded all the images from that day. I guess I was focused more on our time together and the water.

But I turned around to get this image, early that Sunday morning, and I think it deserves some time in the spotlight, because it definitely made me smile that day (I think I may have squealed. Out loud.) and again today after I found it in my archives.

This week I’m feeling some anxiety, so I was having trouble finding a smile. I don’t think it’s wrong to reach back a little when grasping for smiles, do you? We’re all lucky if we have those memories to grab when we need them.

I hope you have found your smile (or maybe even multiple smiles!) this week. Thank you, Trent, for reminding us to keep looking for them!


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Midsummer morning

I feel as if summer is sliding away from me, days turning into minutes, weeks into moments. Yet it’s only the beginning of August, there’s plenty of summer left, especially for a retiree. Right? Being retired is enough to make me smile, but my walk on a midsummer’s morning made me absolutely grin.

The dreaded first sighting of goldenrod.

I was out at my favorite park this past Thursday, while it was still July, while I could still consider it mid-summer, and yet I felt fall encroaching.

Beautiful, but I’m not ready for leaves turning yet.

I went with my biggest lens, the better to see birds in their natural space versus standing on my outstretched palm.

But of course I did have a few birds in my hand. Can’t not do that.

But what I found instead was a whole forest filled with youngsters. And I don’t mean the busses of preschoolers that arrived as I was leaving. Thank goodness.

I don’t know what this is, but it was pretty.

I have so much to show you from my walk in the woods, I don’t know if I should break it up into two posts, or if you’ll have the patience to read one long post.

Joe Pye is beginning to bloom.

I don’t even know if I have the patience to write one long post.

The grasses are maturing.

You can always scroll through and just look at the pictures. I have a feeling the words will be minimal anyway.

Wild grapes are beginning to pink.

I got to the nature center early in the morning, but on the drive through the park I noticed my favorite willow tree island had a beautiful swan. So after I parked I walked back along the bikepath to capture her as she preened.

Was she using the water as her mirror?

Notice the grey pile of fluff off to the right? That is her baby, or maybe more than one, I couldn’t really tell. Her partner is swimming behind the island, couldn’t see him well either.

Her little one (or more) are well hidden in the shade.

But she (I’ve decided it’s a she, I really don’t know) sure was taking her time getting beautiful that morning.

Looking stunning that morning.

Then I walked back to the parking lot at the nature center to get the rest of my gear, and found this exhausted and hungry mama, right beside the bike rack.

Eating at the parking lot salad bar.

With my long lens I was able to get quite close without interrupting her breakfast.

And beside her, on the other side of the bike rack, were the normal crane parking lot greeters, getting spruced up for their shift of collecting the lot fee from everyone arriving to enjoy the trails.

Hurry up Henry, we’re going to be late for work!

Lucky for me I got there before they clocked in.

So I headed into the woods…

The bridge to the woods.

…and met this guy right away. He already had breakfast so I didn’t offer him anything more.

You’re not going INTO THE WOODS, are you?!

It was right about then that I noticed a sense of fall seeping into air. I shook it off and ventured further into the dark cool green, and interrupted two moms and their little ones having some breakfast of their own.

Family brunch interrupted.

I stood there a long time watching them watching me.

Mama and her mini-me.

This little one was intensly curious about me.

Should I run or should I stay?

And then I heard a titmouse, just over my right shoulder, angrly asking why I wasn’t providing a snack. So I handed off a peanut and moved on.

Hey Lady! Fork over the peanut! I know you have one!!

I only saw one other person my entire walk in the woods, and that was another photographer.

I see something right over there…

As soon as he got down from the bench and moved on this mama came out of the brush.

Is he gone yet?

I took a different trail and moved deeper into the woods. The long lens wasn’t really the right choice with so little light. But I didn’t want to stop to change it because you just never know what you’ll see.

Oops, thought it was another deer!

Or how far away it might be.

Way over there on that ridge is another exhausted mama, chewing her cud and watching me.

But the mosquitos were beginning to follow me. I pictured myself running out of the woods with a swarm of bugs trailing me, sort of like a Bernstein Bear cartoon. I moved faster.

After clambering over a downed tree that crossed the trail I was shooting an image of a tree damaged in the recent storms where the fresh wood had a similar color to deer, confusing me for a moment…

Kind of the same color as the deer roaming these woods.

…when out of the corner of my eye I saw more of that reddish brown.

Another mama and her baby hoping to have an undisturbed meal.

These two didn’t seem to realize I was there. Until mama did.

Lady, you need to move along now.

The baby didn’t seem too bothered by me at all, but I went on down the trail so they could enjoy mama/baby time alone. Plus I was beginning to get hungry myself, it had been a long time since my own breakfast, and I was still deep in the woods with a long walk back.

See you later, lady!

I tried not to stop anymore as I booked it out of the deep woods. Except when I saw something interesting. Or fun. Or both.

This says late summer to me for sure.

But mostly I was trying to get back into the open where the breeze would keep the bugs from swarming around my head. Yes, I had applied bug spray before I left the car, but not on my hands, because I knew I’d be feeding birds. I guess that made me fair game for the mosquitos.

Bet you didn’t know crocodiles lived in the woods!

Back out in the open I had a nuthatch and a chickadee makeing big noises about getting a treat, but they wouldn’t come down to my hand. I finally figured out that maybe they were this year’s young, and not quite confident about the whole process of coming in for a snack.

Tell me how this works again, lady?

But eventually they both came down, after doing a fly over or two to check me out.

This peanut is almost as big as me!

The sky was getting dark and I figured it would soon rain, so I headed back to the car. Climbing the stairs to the parking lot I could hear people, cars and busses.

Change of shift for the swallows.

I was glad I’d gotten my walk in the woods finished before the masses arrived. Time to head back home to the princess who would just be getting up from her morning nap.

Earlier in the morning there were deer and cranes. Now bikes rest while their people explore.

It was a good midsummer day all around.